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How can either Bourdieu or Critical Race Theory help us to understand how race and ethnicity impacts on young people’s experience of schooling?





How race and ethnicity influences and leaves a deep and long lasting impact on the young’s experience of schooling has been a point of concern and debate since times immemorial. If we look at the history, it has always been the majority culture, which has been prioritized and enforced by the education system. Even in the early 18th century, indigenous pupils were stripped of their culture as well as language and replaced by the European and English clothing and culture in American schools. In spite of all the modernization, racism can still be seen as a part of the schooling process. The curriculum of a majority of the U.K schools is such which promotes the Eurocentric culture of the upper class of people. There exist ethnic and racial inequalities in schools, which is evident from the fact that African American, Latinos, American Indian, and Southeast Asian students perform less in academics as compared to the whites. Such inequalities are also evident in the test scores of students, which assess various fields and measures like percentage of drop out, the percentage enrolled in higher education along with percentage of students, expelled from schools. The minority and people are compelled to send their children to such schools which are not in the match with their beliefs and thoughts. A dominant culture is practiced in the schools, where the minority group faces a discrimination in terms of everything, right from resources distribution, limited representation in curriculum, difference in teachers to mocking behavior of other students of the school. It is the urgent demand of the time that the issue of the racial and ethnic inequalities practiced in schools should be explored and researched more and solution for this issue should be found soon. The main reason being that the children and hence students are the nation builders and define the limits of success and prosperity.


Why Critical Theory has been chosen to address the issue:

Racism is practiced in various forms and methods in schools. Thus, to curb racism, it is essential that anti racism should be flexible as well as adaptable according to different situations. In order to understand how race and ethnicity impacts on young people’s experience of schooling, it is important to understand the following things:

  1. While doing an anti racist analysis, what is the meaning of anti racist?
  2. What should be the appropriate starting point for exploring the educational theory, strategy and practice?

To answer these two questions systematically, a systematic approach is required. In the absence of a systematic approach to anti racist theory, two main problems come to the front, which remains unresolved. First, the usage of anti racist theory merely as a verbal and formal device in countering racism and second, the racial inequalities being practiced by the critical nature of scholarship.

In such a scenario, the critical race theory (CRT) serves as the most appropriate choice to address all of the above mentioned issues. Critical race theory can be defined as a theory, which analyzes the culture and society to the junction of race, power and law. In general, critical race theory proposes two main assumptions. First, racial indifference and white dominion are maintained from long time and there may be a part played by law in this. Second, CRT theory explores the possibility of changing the relationship between racial power and law and also pursues an objective of liberation from racial and ethnic inequalities.


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